Sky TV Won't Allow Ads For ISP Highlighting Its Anti-Geoblocking Service

from the copyright-makes-you-do-silly-things dept

Last month, we wrote about how the New Zealand ISP Slingshot had started offering what it called “Global Mode” as a standard feature. The ISP realized the simple ridiculousness of geoblocking content, especially since so much content is deemed “unavailable” in New Zealand. So, in response, it basically set its services up so that it disguised where the user was coming from (not unlike many VPN services). This seemed like smart customer service. But, obviously, not everyone is thrilled with it. The local SkyTV is apparently banning ads from Slingshot if they mention Global Mode. Watch SkyTV’s spokesperson totally fail to understand the issue:

Sky TV spokeswoman Kirsty Way confirmed the advertisements had been rejected because of their references to Global Mode.

“We are a business that pays people who create television so we are against any form of piracy or the undermining of intellectual property rights,” she said.

Except that Global Mode is not piracy, nor does it “undermine intellectual property rights.” It merely lets people use the internet in ways to access and pay for authorized content. It actually lets folks in New Zealand do things like pay for Netflix or Hulu — which they can’t do today.

Slingshot’s General Manager Taryn Hamilton rightly calls this situation ridiculous, noting that rejecting the ads is “unjustified and petty.” It’s also fairly counterproductive, given that now Slingshot gets probably more publicity for the service without having to pay the foolish and small-minded folks at SkyTV for the pleasure.

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Companies: skytv, slingshot

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Comments on “Sky TV Won't Allow Ads For ISP Highlighting Its Anti-Geoblocking Service”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Intellectual property rights?

Please don’t call them copyright holders. EVERYONE who has created any work is a copyright holder in countries that hold to the Berne convention. The term you’re looking for is “Copyright Hoarders” — it’s only a limited number of corporations who have bought the copyrights off of individuals that are pushing for something like this. They’re rarely the entities that have actually created the content they hold copyright over; they’re speculators, pure and simple.

scotts13 (profile) says:

It doesn't actually have to BE piracy...

We’re just so over-sensitized that “doing something with sound or images that an established company doesn’t like” automatically translates to piracy or “undermining of intellectual property rights.”

After all, if we were supposed to access that stuff, the originators wouldn’t have blocked it. It would of course be more fair to label this offense “interfering with a business model.”

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: It doesn't actually have to BE piracy...

I actually think the quote about undermining intellectual property could be accurate.

When you make your business model about maximizing every single form of intellectual property to truly insane levels (instead of creating content or providing services to customers), then anyone interfering with your business model is undermining intellectual property rights (even if those rights only exist in your head and not even on some unenforceable law).

Of course, I’m the guy who thinks the entire shell game of intellectual property unethical and unsupported by evidence that shows positive benefits, so call me crazy.

Anonymous Coward says:

But it does undermine their IP “rights”.

It undermines the idea of localized pricing and takes away control of when and how (if at all) they release things in any given country. It is all about control and (ab)using it to extract the maximum amount of money possible.

Of course it is a completely ass backwards way of doing things but that is what they have always done and they want to continue doing it.

Trevor says:


“We are a business that pays people who create television so we are against any form of piracy or the undermining of intellectual property rights,” she said.

She’s right. Global Mode is undermining creators’ property right to deny access to the content. God forbid creators make unintended income and reach a bigger audience than they want. If creators only want to make a limited amount of money, THAT’S THEIR RIGHT.

djl47 (profile) says:

Economics 101

An increase in competitive content dilutes the value of the incumbent content because viewers are spread out over more content. This in turn dilutes the value of commercial time. Slingshot makes it easy for consumers to watch competitive content that isn’t offered by the incumbent. The incumbent is confused about IP rights, conflating their IP rights with their monopoly on content delivery.

qyiet (profile) says:

This shows Sky's fear

Sky is a pay TV monopoly in NZ. This shows that Sky is terrified of competition, and rightly so. I believe with the exception of live sport that Netflix provides a superior service to Sky in NZ for a fraction of the cost.

Sky flinching at seeing that available to non-technical users is just showing how scared they are of their market collapsing.

rjh says:

All major networks, not just Sky

This isn’t just Sky, both of the other major networks have banned the advertising. From the NZ Herald:

“In a statement released this afternoon, Mediaworks – which owns TV3 and Channel Four – said it had been advised Slingshot’s latest development to Global Mode may lead to a breach of copyright, and advertising that presented it as legitimate and legal was misleading, and may also be a breach of the Fair Trading Act.”

I have little sympathy for the networks; TVNZ regularly sits on Youtube content that they will not allow to be shown in this region, and that they had no intention of broadcasting either.

Meanwhile their idea of innovation is to show their own channels +1 hour later (so they could show trendsetting content like Mr Bean), after shutting down the rather excellent TV7 and lying to the government about their justifications for doing this.

Anonymous Coward says:

First of all I think it is stupid but I guess Sky is correct.

Let’s assume a US TV show is created. A US network has to pay for the license to air it in the US. If a NZ network wants to air it they have to pay for the license and this goes for every country.

i.e. if Netflix wants to expand into other countries they will probably have to license their stuff for the different markets. Compare to Youtube which has to pay fees for music in different countries or block the video.

Mikko Rauhala (profile) says:

It is piracy

It is piracy, merely disguised a bit.

It’s getting the material fraudulently, often from sources that don’t have the license to distribute it to you in the first place without said fraud. What do we call acquiring not properly licensed copyrighted material? That’s right.

The fraud aspect does rub me the wrong way a bit, personally. Also, if the local legislature wishes, a bit of computer fraud may often provide the means to crucify you if you’re deemed a generally difficult person.

Traditional straight-up piracy is a honest endeavour, at least. No swindles, breaking possible user agreements or contracts or the like. Just you and a victimless crime.

Mikko Rauhala (profile) says:

Re: Re: It is piracy

You circumvent access controls by pretending to be somewhere else than where you are. Sure, they’re not overly sophisticated access controls, but regardless, knowingly circumventing them seems a lot like using fraudulent means of access to me.

And of course, even if you discount that, there’s still the other matter that I mentioned; usually the guys you dupe into providing you access are not even licensed to provide you with a license in your geographical area, so what you do get is a pirate copy.

Shmerl says:

Re: Re: Re: It is piracy

> You circumvent access controls by pretending to be somewhere else than where you are.

I asked that question above already.

When using a VPN you aren’t pretending anything. Let’s say, the publisher puts the same kind of access restriction except in the physical space. Imagine you can’t buy certain book in your country because it’s not distributed there (for whatever reason). What you can do is to go to another country where that book is sold and buy it there. All legal and fine.

Now let’s translate that into the digital space. You can’t get some merchandise because of regional restriction. So you use VPN (analog of country travel in the digital space) to access that store and buy the merchandise there. Why should it be any less legal than above? Conceptually it’s the same. If they use digital space regional restrictions, you can use digital space travel to bypass them. Same as with physical goods.

Surely, some copyright holders would probably attempt to forbid it by buying various corrupted laws, but there is nothing inherently wrong with it. They just don’t like it, that’s all. Forbidding one to travel to other countries or requiring one to show a passport when buying books would be harder for them, because it’s more obvious that it’s nonsense. But they can get away with banning VPNs because it’s more abstract and it’s easier to mask the nonsensical nature of such ban.

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